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7 Jun 2017 - 20 Aug 2017

Portraits: Czechoslovak writers through the lens of Viktor Stoilov

On the occasion of Jerusalem International Book Fair and Hebrew Book Week Czech Centre Tel Aviv presents the exhibition of portraits of Czechoslovak writers photographed by Viktor Stoilov.


Photo: Viktor Stoilov

"By a lucky coincidence I met people who introduced me to a samizdat literature. I could not stop reading and continued being in touch with the lenders. On one of the book covers there was a memorable face. Other faces I didn’t know. These books were magical and at that time they meant everything to me - the truth, real culture, and an inspiration. They were for a long time the only thing from the contemporary culture that resonated in me, the only thing worth of reading again and again. Authors of these books lived on the outskirts of the public life. An idea that maybe every day we pass each other on some street, without even knowing it, was exciting. I wrote a letter to one of the authors I knew; he was the first one I photographed. Maybe I needed a reason for meeting them in person and my camera was just a tool. Some of the visits lasted for hours and the biggest satisfaction was when I was invited to come over without a camera, just for a chat."

Viktor Stoilov

Series Portraits by Viktor Stoilov contains sixty photo portraits of Czechoslovak writers taken during the years 1988 - 1990. These writers belong to so called "unofficial literature" of the totalitarian Communist regime in the pre-1989 Czechoslovakia. Their books were published in exile or self-published. "Samizdat" was a key form of dissident activity across the Soviet bloc in which individuals reproduced censored and underground publications by hand and passed the documents from reader to reader. Creating and disseminating ideas and art that did not conform to an official ideology was considered to be an anti-state activity.

With its documentary value and visual expression, these authentic and honest photos  capture the atmosphere and time of the Communist Czechoslovakia. Presented here are great personalities such as Viktor Fischl (Avigdor Dagan), Ivan Klíma, Pavel Tigrid, Arnošt Lustig, Karol Sidon, Zdeněk Urbánek, Josef Hiršal, Jiří Gruša, Eda Kriseová and Věra Saudková. Some of their books were also translated to English or Hebrew and we encourage you to read them. 

Viktor Stoilov is the founder and owner of The Torst Publishing House, established in Prague in 1990. As he often says, he started this business in order to publish his photo series of dissident writers. The Torst became a renowned publishing house focusing among other things on books related to photography and art. Edition FotoTorst is a famous series of monographs about Czech photographers, including Alphonse Mucha, Josef Koudelka, Alexandr Hackenschmied, Miroslav Tichý, Antonín Kratochvíl or Josef Sudek. 





Gallery On The Fence, 23 Zeitlin, Tel Aviv


From: 7 Jun 2017
To: 20 Aug 2017


Czech Centre

Date 13 Jun 2017 22:33:00

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